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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The humble wheelbarrow

Can't homestead without one. The ancient Chinese once used the wheelbarrow as a weapon of war. It allowed the average soldier to bring a lot more stuff to the battle.

It will help you bring a lot more stuff to your homesteading battle. Don't waste money on a cheap one. Crappy tools will cost more in the long run. Get a good sized contractor wheelbarrow, something around the 6 cubic foot size.

I should have bought a better wheelbarrow than the one I bought. Over the years, I've turned it into the wheelbarrow I should have bought in the first place. The most important upgrade is a wheel that won't go flat. Pneumatic tires go flat at the worse times. Get a solid rubber wheel and avoid that headache.

Originally, my wheelbarrow had wooden handles. They lasted over a decade, but broke when moving a huge load of fire wood. Since I had a lot of wood to move, a quick repair was in order. I had a 2x4 on hand. Ripped it length ways, cut to length and used the old handle to mark the drill holes. That quick fix lasted about 5 years.

This year it broke while moving turf. Instead of a hasty repair, I put on good steel handles. Now it's just a matter of keeping the wheel greased and the steel painted. This wheelbarrow should last for decades yet.

If you ever have to make small batches of cement, a wheel barrow is just the thing. Use a good hoe and shovel to mix everything up. Just make sure to wash all your tools clean when you are done. Don't let the cement set up in the wheelbarrow.

Why do I go on and on about a simple wheelbarrow? You only have one back and you'll miss it when it's gone. How else will you move gravel, or topsoil? With buckets? There goes the back. I move an awful lot of firewood with my wheelbarrow. Beats hauling it around in my arms.

A good wheelbarrow is a tool every homesteader should have. Don't skimp on it. Buy a tool that'll last decades. It might have to.

-Sixbears

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